Scleroderma renal crisis is the term used to describe kidney involvement in scleroderma because of the very much discomforting symptoms brought about by it that indeed puts the patient into a crisis. This happens when scleroderma, of which the cause is unknown, would reach the kidneys, limiting blood supply to it and limiting its functions or totally impairing it. This condition could only happen to those with the diffuse form of scleroderma which is called limited sclerosis.
Kidney involvement in scleroderma would usually start of as an increase in blood pressure then would later show more signs within weeks or days. Scleroderma renal crisis is mainly associated with a decrease in kidney function, the appearance of protein in urine and in severe cases, accompanied by heart failure.
How Does This Develop?
Scleroderma would usually start of in the skin in the form of calcinosis or Raynaud’s phenomenon. If it sticks with those symptoms, then that case of scleroderma is most likely limited scleroderma or CREST which is the milder form of the illness. Although this can disable, it would tend most of the time not to be fatal. However, if it spreads to the internal organs, the kidneys in particular, then that would be the beginning of scleroderma renal involvement.
The connective tissues in the kidneys are the ones that are primarily involved in scleroderma. Scleroderma causes scar tissue to develop in them, thus making them thicker. This also limits blood flow to the kidneys that in turn could impair or actually kill some parts of the kidney or the kidney itself. This could also lead to heart complications that in sever cases, could lead to heart failure.
Start Treatment Early
Patients with renal involvement in scleroderma should start treatment as early as possible. This condition is quite serious and could develop before anyone would know. To prevent further damage, it is highly advisable that a patient should start treatment early. If ever there would be significant damage done to the kidneys, little can be done to reverse the effects.
The effectiveness of treating renal involvement in scleroderma would depend heavily on the level of damage already inflicted at that time of treatment. The less damage there is, the more likely a patient would recover from the condition. Since scleroderma in general has no known cure, treatment for renal involvement is more focused on limiting damage.
Can This Condition Be Treated?
Even if scleroderma in general has no treatment, a lot of things can still be done to help relieve a patient from the damages done by scleroderma to the kidneys. However if the kidney is already totally impaired, little can be done to reverse the effect. But if treatment would start early, then treatment is very possible through medical help which would involve medications, rehabilitation therapies and surgery for some cases.
The point that all patients or those who are widely involved with renal scleroderma is that it is treatable and a lot has been done in the past to help cure people with this condition. The key to relief from it is early treatment as well as taking medications religiously and as well as careful medical attention.
Because renal involvement in scleroderma is quite sensitive, this would require the utmost attention of the doctor as well as a lot of effort from the patient.